Raven stepped into a large empty room. At the far end of the room was a wall with a reinforced window. Mr. Rosco and the nurse watched her from behind it. It felt weird to be studied like a rat in a cage. Deciding to ignore that comparison, she walked deeper into the room.
Crackling filled the air right before Mr. Rosco’s voice echoed through the room. “Welcome to the Level 1 Illusion Permit Exam. This exam is about completing a series of tasks in the allotted time. During each task, you must demonstrate your Illusion magic to achieve your goal. The key to passing this exam is about control.”
“Control. Got it,” Raven said.
“Excellent,” Mr. Rosco’s voice boomed.
A mechanical sound caught Raven’s attention. One of the floor tiles rose from the ground revealing a small crate. Raven walked cautiously towards it.
“Inside are a few items you may need based on your skills. You may use or not use the items as you deem necessary.”
Raven opened the crate revealing two canteens and a raincoat. She chuckled a little at the sight of the raincoat. She grabbed it and one of the canteens, deciding to leave the other one behind. She didn’t want to get too bogged down. Opening one of the canteens she checked it. It was filled with water. She couldn’t help smiling at this. Well, it looks like she had one trick up her sleeve they weren’t aware of.
She closed the crate and stepped back. As the crate lowered back into the floor, she tied the sleeves of the raincoat around her waist. She wasn’t sure if she would need it, but might turn out useful.
“I’m ready,” she said.
At her words, there was the sound of clicking followed by an insistent buzzing. All around the room panels on the wall opened and out came several miniature helicopters. There had to be at least twenty of them. Raven looked at them warily.
“Your first task is to disable the helicopters so they are no longer able to fly. While you are doing this, they will shoot out a light electric shock. It won’t cause any major damage, but it will not be pleasant. You must disable all helicopters in the allotted time. If even one remains you fail the test. You have five minutes. Begin.”
Five minutes! No wonder no one passed this test on their first try. Her brow furrowed. Well, she would have to show them that she was going to be the first-
Pain shuddered through her body. It couldn’t have lasted more than five seconds, but it was overwhelming. Her entire body froze up and her nerves constricted as if they were trying to curl away from the pain. Then it was gone. Raven fell to her knees, panting. She turned around to see one of the miniature helicopters fly away.
The sound of more buzzing grew closer. Raven turned to see two helicopters flying towards her. No way was she planning to sit around and get double shocked. Pushing off the ground, Raven sprinted across the room. She dodged the helicopters as they shot what looked like miniature lightning bolts. She twisted, skirting another approaching helicopter as a bolt barely missed her. This had to be some sort of child abuse.
I can’t keep running.
Running meant she would fail. She wasn’t even sure how much time had passed since she started. She had to get these things down. She unscrewed the top of her canteen. Another tiny bolt shot past her, hitting the floor right by the edge of her shoe.
“I’m so done with this,” she growled.
She spun around and whipped her arm through the air. The water swooped out of the canteen, following her movement and cutting through the air in an arch. The water sliced into the helicopters. The machines fell to the ground in pieces.
She grinned. “All right. Let’s really get started.”
The water floated around her as if waiting for her command. She stretched out her arm. The water slid forward, swirling around her forearm and down into her palm like a cat begging to be petted. She reached over with her other hand, grasping the water as if it was solid. It parted and forming into two long streams.
She flicked her wrist and the water streams shaped themselves like whips. If someone asked her how she did it, she wasn’t sure she could explain it. It wasn’t so much that she was focusing on controlling the water. Instead, it was like controlling an extension of herself. It was like an old friend you knew so well you could finish each other’s thoughts. And right now her thoughts were telling her she had some helicopters to destroy.
She ran towards a row of helicopters, abruptly twirling to the side to get behind the machines. Once she was behind them and out of the way of their electric bolts, she spun one of the water streams around her head. She flicked the stream forward. It smashed into the back of the helicopters, taking three down at once.
Pleased, Raven turned to another group of helicopters. She ran towards them. Just as they shot at her, she slid across the ground like a batter sliding towards home. Her momentum carried her underneath them. She flicked the two water streams up. They shot up like geysers and smashed into the helicopters, slamming them into the ceiling. She pushed herself off the ground as pieces of the machines rained down. Fifteen more to go.
As if her attacks were a battle cry, the helicopters began to converge. She didn’t waste time panicking. Raven swung one of the water streams. The water stretched forward, catching the tail end of one of the helicopters. She yanked it back and twisted her arm, swinging the helicopter through the air. She spun it right into the converging helicopters like a flail, bashing them to pieces. They all fell to the ground in a crunch of metal and plastic.
With them all clustered together it was easier to take them down. Keeping that in mind, Raven rushed towards the next group of helicopters.
She made sure to stay away from the front of the helicopters where the electric bolts came from. She had no desire to find out if she could survive a mix of water and electricity.
Are they trying to kill me? Who decides to have a water user fight against electricity?
She didn’t have time to dwell.
Keeping to her strategy of attacking from behind and underneath, soon all the helicopters littered the ground.
As the last one fell, she looked towards the window. She felt slightly winded, but a surge of exhilaration when through her at what she had accomplished. “Did I finish in time?”
“Four minutes and two seconds. You passed the first task.”
Raven grinned and then pointed her fingers to the canteen. “In you go.”
The water streams floated up, swirling around her once, before sliding back into the canteen. She twisted on the cap.
“Let’s move on to the next task,” Mr. Rosco said.
“I’m ready,” Raven said, confidence brimming in her voice. There were a lot of things she was unsure about, but her skill with her Illusion magic wasn’t one of them. It had been dangerous, but there was a certain thrill to it all. If this was how the tests were going to be then she was sure she had it in the bag.
Let’s see what they throw at me.